School Practices What It Teaches

Chilled-beam products are primary source of air distribution.

Amber Trails Community School houses K-8 students and also serves as a neighborhood daycare and public library.

Amber Trails Community School houses K-8 students and also serves as a neighborhood daycare and public library.

Students at Amber Trails Community School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, are being taught by a new teacher—the building itself. Prairie Architects, Winnipeg, and the Seven Oaks School division designed the school to serve as a teaching tool for its students, one that highlights the impact facilities have on their communities. The abundance of fresh air, sustainable design elements, and natural light not only teach the students about sustainability but also help them study by providing a healthy learning environment. In addition to housing K-8 students, the 78,000-sq.-ft. facility also serves as a neighborhood daycare and public library.

To match its sustainable design, the building uses chilled-beam products as its primary source of air distribution. The beams feature the aerodynamic properties of Titus HVAC’s , Plano, TX, ceiling diffusers and benefit from the use of hydronic coils and induced air, reducing energy consumption associated with removing sensible thermal loads.

After being discharged through nozzles located along the beams, the primary air is supplied to the beam’s mixing chamber. The nozzles inject this air into the mixing chamber at velocities capable of inducing room air through one or two coils and where it mixes with the primary supply air. The mixture is then discharged through the ceiling slot diffusers into the space, providing high cooling outputs with low amounts of primary air. The reduced volume of air leads to smaller (and less expensive) air handlers and ducts and less energy consumption.

To match its sustainable design, the building uses chilled-beam products as its primary source of air distribution.

To match its sustainable design, the building uses chilled-beam products as its primary source of air distribution.

The supplied air from the air-handling unit is tempered and dehumidified to handle the latent load. The remaining loads in the space are addressed by the chilled beam’s heat exchanger. Applications with low latent cooling loads could potentially use 100% outdoor air, allowing a dedicated outdoor air system with energy recovery that would further reduce total system energy consumption.

The chilled beams used for this project can be used for heating and cooling and are offered in multiple sizes—12- and 24-in. widths and 2- to 10-ft. lengths. They can be integrated into different grid styles within a suspended ceiling or even in drywall ceilings. The low overall height of the chilled beams aid in reducing space required for false ceilings.

With dedicated spaces allotted for daycare, early-childhood education, play areas, and a public library, Amber Trails Community School is a vital piece of the Winnipeg community. Thanks to a sustainable design and energy-efficient HVAC system, the multipurpose space serves as a daily reminder to students, teachers, and the community about how buildings can have a positive impact beyond their intended use.


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